Hunter Keel happened to be one of the biggest role models, idols, and someone I looked up to all through out my youth. He happened to be like a brother to me that I never had and someone that I could call “bro” or my best friend. Hunter took the best out of every situation and made everyone around him have the best time they have ever had no matter what it was. I could say I am very lucky to have known Hunter and be in his presence. I grew up being around Hunter and his family because of going to my grandparent’s lake house. The Keels had a house right next door so I got to see Hunter and his loving family a lot. Being around not only Hunter but his family too would make my day so much better and it could be for the shortest amounts of time. I can count many memories with the Keels not even doing anything but just hearing them talk to each other and joke around would put the biggest smile on my face. Now if people know me well enough they will know that I am not the one to always walk around with a grin. The Keels brought this out of me and this just would show myself how much not only Hunter but his family as well mattered to me.
I always had loved to go fishing with Hunter up in the river and hearing the water run against the rocks. One day while listening to the water I heard a huge splash in the water knowing Hunter caught a huge fish. I will never forget screaming at each other with excitement and joy knowing this was the one we were trying to catch after recently having lines being broken from such a monster fish. Finally reeling the fish in we had got back to the dock and had to clean this monster fish. While watching Hunter clean the fish I thought about how crazy and just how much I looked up to him. To clean the fish he had a hammer, pliers, and a screwdriver. Everyone looked at Hunter and me like we were crazy and had no earthly idea what we were doing. I sat and watched him and took in every detail trying to learn his ways since I wanted to be just like Hunter. What he did was nail the catfish through its mouth and against a tree, using the screwdriver to have it pinned down. Then, he would use the pliers and carefully peel the catfish’s skin off his body. I would have never thought to do this in all my life! To this day I use that technique when I catch catfish and that same exact screwdriver Hunter used. The screwdriver is always in the same spot as well and has never been moved since that very day.
Driving down the lake some days I would see a boat with this teenage boy and hearing music blasting with cute girls hanging all over the boat. Not knowing but this was Hunter with all his friends. Hunter was an amazing wake boarder and I was never that good at all. I couldn’t even get up on the wake board and my grandpa would tell me that pulling me was basically equivalent to pulling a pile of bricks. Trying to get up would make me so mad and irritated that I would have to give up and start to pout. Hunter would notice this instantly and without a doubt come over to pick me up and teach me how to wake board. Hunter would then wakeboard and try to show me how it was done and let me say he did a very good job at making wakeboarding look easy. I sat in the boat in amazement as if he were the best out there. Watching Hunter wake board was amazing to me since I was someone who was not very good. There eventually was a day when he came on my boat and taught me how to wake board but not by sitting in the boat watching by sitting in the water and being left behind after finally getting up and being towed by the boat. I was so excited when I got up, not only that but also to see Hunter be so proud of me and cheering me on. This was such a huge deal because it was my first time getting up and seeing someone that I looked up to so much being proud of me made it even better.
Hunter was basically an older brother that I never had because I could tell him anything and we could talk for hours and hours about nothing and still have a great time. Hunter and I would go sit on his dock all night and I could tell him anything, this would include things that I couldn’t go to my parents about because it happened to be very personal things. I remember one time talking with Hunter about girls and all that kind of stuff. One time I remember discussing with him about all the girls in his life and what happened between them, knowing this it taught me many things about what to do and what not to do. Hunter was the perfect person to talk to since he was older than me and had been through the same situations and could give me the best advice. This was something that had a huge impact on my life because I am a very shy person and could not express those kinds of things to other people. Hunter was far from shy which made me realize to not get so caught up with the people I know and going out and being more social. With expressing myself more to people it helped me become an even better person with who I am today and that is something I can thank Hunter for.
Something that made me realize to appreciate things more in life was when Hunter had passed away in a terrible car accident in the year of 2009. I thought about this when his sister Sarah went to the podium at Perimeter Church to say a few memories and words about Hunter. She described him to be the best brother in the world and someone who would do anything for his little sister. To see Sarah breaking down and bawling crying in front of the whole church made me start to cry. Especially with hearing what happened that very night Hunter had passed away. Sarah was in the car with Hunter when they crashed and had to hold Hunter in her arms while waiting for help. To have this imagine in my head and sitting next to my little sister made me think that of the very expression that you don’t know what you have until you lose it. From that day on my sister and I were best friends and helped one another through thick and thin.
After Hunter’s funeral and walking outside seeing everyone crying I never thought about how much I had until it was lost. Hunter had taught me many things that I can now teach others now that he has passed away. Everyone loved being around him because Hunter always knew how to have a good time, enjoy the little things, and impacting each and everyone else’s life’s as well as mine. For that reason Hunter will always be in our hearts, especially mine because I looked up to him so much. I now know how much I loved Hunter and how many lives he impacted as well as being a huge person to look up to.
Hopefully everyone can realize the people that impact their lives and people that truly mean a lot to them. If not then we never know might happen and someone or something that means a lot to you could be gone in a blink of an eye. Hunter passing away happened to happen to me so fast that I never actually took in how fortunate I am and all the great things and people I have in my life. Even though Hunter is now no longer with us I am glad that after when he did pass away that I was able to hear what others thought about him and to take in every single thing that makes us who we are today. People now a days take things for granted and do not know how lucky they actually are. That is why we really need to take things in and be thankful before we do not know how much we have until we lose it forever.